High Speed Train Stalled in Texas.

Could this be a sign that the U.S. may be ready to join the rest of the world when it comes to high-speed trains? Texas Central Railway, a true high-speed rail line, proposes to carry people between Houston and Dallas/Fort Worth.

Backers of the project are convinced of its eventual success, and no wonder. The estimates are that almost 100,000 people travel back and forth at least once a week between those two Texas cities. That number jumps dramatically when the question is applied to people making that trek occasionally.

The two cities are about 240 miles apart and are connected by a highway that is frequently burdened with heavy traffic.

Texas-based Southwest Airlines has close to a dozen flights a day in both directions between the two cities. The hour-long flight has a one-way adult fare that runs between $150 and $250.

Texas Central’s plan was to obtain land for its right-of-way by applying the law of Eminent Domain which, in Texas, specifically permits land for a railroad to be acquired in that manner.

It all came to an abrupt if temporary halt in 2020 when a number of people owning land along the railroad’s proposed right-of-way filed a lawsuit claiming that Texas Central Railway is . . .well, uh . . . is not a railroad.

A lower court ruling favored Texas Central, but that decision was appealed to the Texas Supreme Court, which is where the matter rests as of this writing.

And so, once again, for reasons that are political or philosophical or just plain selfish, a handful of people have found a way to block a high-speed rail project.

Meanwhile, the French and the Germans and the Italians and the Chinese and the Japanese are all traveling in comfort from city to city at 200 miles an hour.

It’s embarrassing.